Although never intended to be taken seriously, the speculation sparked by the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) legal suit to seize more than US$1 billion assets stolen from 1MDB about the identity of the kingpin of the 1MDB scandal, described merely as “Malaysian Official 1”, included the lighted-hearted one as to whether I could be “Malaysian Official 1”.
But this is a very serious matter, involving the country’s honour and international reputation.
Let me clearly and formally declare that I am not the “Malaysian Official 1.”
Will the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak similarly state his position – to formally deny it or confirm whether he is referred to as “Malaysian Official 1” and if the latter, what he proposes to do about the DOJ action.
Anyone who reads the 136-page DOJ lawsuit will have no doubt about the identity of “Malaysian Official 1”, as the description in Paragraph 39 can only point to one person, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Paragraph 39 of the 405-paragraph DOJ lawsuit reads:
“39. Upon its (1MDB) formation, MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1 assumed a position of authority with 1MDB. MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1 had the authority to approve all appointments to, and removal from, 1MDB’s Board of Directors and 1MDB’s Senior Management Team. In addition, any financial commitments by 1MDB, including investments, that were likely to affect a guarantee given by the government of Malaysia for the benefit of 1MDB or any policy of the Malaysian government, required, the approval of MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1.”
What is being referred to by US DOJ is obviously Clause 117 of the 1MDB Memorandum and Articles of Association (M&A) Agreement where the Prime Minister must give his written approval for any of 1MDB deals, including the firm’s investments or any bid for restructuring.
The clause states that for any avoidance of doubt, none of three things can be executed “without the written prior approval of the prime minister”.
This includes “any financial commitment (including investment), restructuring or any other matter which is likely to affect the guarantee given by the Federal Government of Malaysia for the benefit of the company, national interest, national security or any policy of the Federal Government of Malaysia”.
The clause also stipulates that the government shall have the “final and conclusive” right to determine what constitutes national interest and national security.
Other matters which need the PM’s approval are amendments to the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Company and appointments and removal of directors and senior management team of the company.
Will Najib deny that he is the “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” referred to by the US DOJ in its legal suit to seize more than US$1 billion assets “stolen from 1MDB”?
In her press conference on Wednesday, the US Attorney-General Loretta E. Lynch said:
“The Department of Justice will not allow the American financial system to be used as a conduit for corruption.
“With this action, we are seeking to forfeit and recover funds that were intended to grow the Malaysian economy and support the Malaysian people. Instead, they were stolen, laundered through American financial institutions and used to enrich a few officials and their associates. Corrupt officials around the world should make no mistake that we will be relentless in our efforts to deny them the proceeds of their crimes. ”
Loretta said that the ultimate goal of the US Government action under the US Kleptocracy Assets Recovery Initiative 2010 is to return the funds believed to have been misappropriated from 1MDB to the people of Malaysia.
The Foreign Minister, Datuk Anifah Aman met the US Ambassador to Malaysia, Joseph Y. Yun at his Ministry over the US DOJ legal action yesterday.
Did he tell the US Ambassador that the US DOJ is barking up the wrong tree, that as the Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali stated yesterday, no money had been misappropriated or stolen from 1MDB – and that Malaysia will not accept the funds and assets even if they are successfully recovered by the US DOJ on behalf of the Malaysian people?